Sydney Cricket Ground

By Shenol. M Wilson

Hopes were high with Aussie fans earlier in the evening, going on to the first match of the world cup with their arch rivals New Zealand on their home soil. Kiwis had other ideas as they were able to get a thumping win over the World Champs and completely disarrayed every prediction going on into the match.

Aussie captain Aaron Finch won the important toss and decided to bowl first in a beautiful batting surface on the Sydney cricket ground as he thought it would get better with the match going on. Going on into the power play, New Zealand openers did not waste a second as they stormed in by throwing out their bats to world class Aussie pace attack. Finn Allen and Devon Conway were able to build up a 56 run opeing partnership before Allen got out for well-made 42 by using just 16 balls.

Ever reliable captain Kane Williamson steadied the ship as he was able to get a partnership with Conway before he got out to Adam Zampa when the score board was 125. Glenn Philips and Jimmy Neesham finished up the job with their cameos of 12 runs and 26 runs without wasting many balls as score board showed exactly 200 runs for just 3 wickets at the end of 20 overs. It was all about the anchor of the inning, Conway who was able to get 92 runs of just 58 balls, which was able to make him player of the match at the end of the game.

On the other hand, replying to this classy performance, Australian Batsmen never got going as they were bundled out for just 111 runs as Kiwis were able to win by 89 runs, which gave them the ability to get a huge advantage by having a such a good net run rate which might be crucial in this highly competitive group A.

Other than the sweep shots of Glenn Maxwell which were able to make him the highest scorer for the Aussies by getting 28 runs, there were nothing much to talk on individual scores in the Australian line up. Highly experienced pace duo Tim Southee and Trent Boult were able to share 3 wickets and 2 wickets respectively as Spinning all-rounder Mitchell Santner made his presence felt with 3 wickets in his bag.

This was completely a surprise for many around the world as Aussie were coming up to the tournament as one of the tournament favorites. Funny things do happen in cricket and this might be an awakening for the Aussies who can still be a force to reckon in coming up fixtures.

Aussies will meet the Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka on Tuesday and it will be a good chance for them to bounce back after what happened already. However ,they should not underestimate any opponent in the group A as they need not only to win, they will have to win big to stay in the competition.

Talking about Kiwis, they should be grateful with this win but still there is a huge mountain to climb as they move towards their first ever world cup hopes. New Zealand will meet Afghan blue tigers on Wednesday, which will be a good opportunity for them to steady their position on top.

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Well, it has been a while when watching white-ball International Cricket on Free TV, but Australia’s 2022 T20 World Cup campaign defense kicks off tonight at the Sydney Cricket Ground v New Zealand aka Black Caps.

And the Nine Network is onboard once again alongside Fox Cricket as the ICC’s Australian Free TV partner to bring you all the action with Australian games, a couple of other Super 12 games, two semi finals and the final to round off such a great next few weeks ahead of T20 World Cup on show.

I’m glad that Roz Kelly is onboard as the host who knows cricket so well, thanks to her husband who was also really good back in the his day with his fast bowling for South Africa in Morne Morkel. She also hosted Network 10’s Big Bash League coverage in the past before the rights were taken away by the Seven Network in 2018. But again, great to see Roz get the opportunity to present cricket on Nine after she came back here at the start of last year to host Rugby Union, Tennis, reading the sports news for Nine News Sydney (Fridays & Saturdays) and Sports Sunday.

It’s also good to see former Opening Batsman Mark “Tubby” Taylor provide his insights on the game once again as Nine’s primary cricket expert, even though they no longer hold the home summer matches anymore. But he’s still well liked here for over two decades since his retirement from the game, especially when he pops up on Sports Sunday for most of the year with Roz.

Although there isn’t any ex-Nine cricket faces currently hired on Seven and Fox Cricket these days following the tragic death of Shane Warne (Fox Cricket) earlier this year – as well as Michael Slater (Seven) whose life gone has upside down not long after Seven dismissed him over the past year due to budget constraints – but Nine will have two new analysts for this tournament in former spinner Steve O’Keefe and former batsman Callum Ferguson.

And oh, Michael Clarke may not have been picked up by Seven or Fox at all since Nine no longer airs the summer of cricket four years ago, but he will be on the world feed commentary nonetheless alongside Fox Cricket regulars in Mark Howard, Mel Jones and Adam Gilchrist.

It will be interesting to see what the cricketing community here will say about this commentary team in the next few weeks. I’m sure they will enjoy having a female presenting the coverage in Roz including Tubby and two fresh faces, before Nine will be back on the crease next year with The Ashes in England (Mid June-August) & the next Men’s 50-Over World Cup in India (October-November).

Then we’ll wait and see if Nine will get some help from Network 10 once the current domestic deal expires in 2024, so Nine can hopefully get Test Cricket back & 10 picks up the rest with the Big Bash & white-ball International Cricket – while keeping the Australian Open Tennis which has been working for them so well since they shocked Seven and the Australian sporting community in 2018/2019.

For now, enjoy the next few weeks of T20 World Cup Cricket. Plus, shout out to Ian Chappell who recently announced his retirement from commentary at age 78, after a illustrious spell for over a few decades following the end of his playing career with Nine and other International TV/Radio outlets.

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It was one huge decider to look back from last night at the Sydney Cricket Ground when Australia went head-to-head against England for the series trophy, as they came into the field at 1-1 apiece after England bounced back last Saturday in Brisbane. The away team struck the first blow before they responded to Tom Wright’s TRY from Australia with a one-point lead at half-time, courtesy of Freddie Steward. Although, Australia kept themselves in the hunt within England’s radar thanks to Folau Faingaa off the bench. But at the end of the day, it has to be England when Marcus Smith capitalised a small lead with a wonderful intercept TRY before they tightened their defense that frustrated Australia in the end. The final score on what has been the final ever rugby union match at the SCG – 17-21 – as we look forward to move back to the all-new Allianz Stadium soon next door.

It’s not been the series ending the Wallabies wanted last night during the 3rd and final Test decider v England. Their first-half run wasn’t bad when they took note of the opposition’s ill-discipline thanks to Nick Frost on second row, before they got the ball rolling via his Brumbies team-mate Tom Wright. A few changes off the bench during the second 40, especially when Folau Faingaa kept the Wallabies hopes alive towards stealing the series away from the English. Sadly, they just couldn’t get escape the opposition’s robust defense under pressure while suffering lapses of inconsistency going forward – which led to lost penalties/turnovers. It’s that one huge weakness they need to work ahead of the Rugby Championship beginning with Argentina in a few weeks, even though they have to keep moving without a few key players from the treatment room.

Meanwhile, England retain the series yet again when they have now taken home the Ella-Mobbs Cup, which is the new trophy after the Cook Cup was retired at the end of last year that spanned for 25 years since its series inception back in 1997. They were glad to get away from their own ill-discipline at the beginning & touched down Australia’s inconsistent attack where England showed excellent fightback in the first half. Not only they opened the scoreboard via the three-point penalty goal, but Freddie Steward’s TRY in the 40th minute puts them ahead of Australia by just one point at half-time, 10-11. They later capitalised on their narrow lead with another three-pointer followed by amazing finish from fly-half Marcus Smith, before England put their bodies on the line defensively that stopped Australia from slipping past them in their tracks going into full-time.

As said earlier, the Wallabies are now preparing for the Rugby Championship going into August. These two games in Argentina will be a Stan Sport exclusive since they kick off at 5am AEST our time which is 4pm over there, so it won’t be aired for free as Nine/9Gem tends to broadcast Super Rugby and Wallabies games within here and New Zealand. I don’t know about the away Springboks games at around midnight when Australia last played in South Africa since 2019, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough next year. For now, there’s some Club Rugby to watch before Nine/9Gem airs the Wallabies games again when the Springboks come here at the end of next month.

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Courtney Lawes has definitely frustrated & stopped the Wallabies from slipping past his English side last night as skipper on the Blindside (flanker role). His defensive work was outstanding every time the Wallabies tries to get themselves going under pressure before Lawes stepped in & called in his troops to lock the ball up, so they (Wallabies) can’t continue under the referee’s watch. He can also be an excellent support player with so much physicality going forward while calling for cover to ensure that the ball stays with England, which led to winning penalties/advantages off the back of the Wallabies ill-discipline. It led to a sigh of relief when the Wallabies were unable to capitalise going forward, while celebrating the series win at the same time.

Next up is Jack van Poortvliet – who came on for Danny Care at half-back not long before half-time – and he too made an instant impact ever since in the No.21 England shirt. He has a very good talk up when looking at ways to get past the Wallabies while calling out for some support. They were able to keep themselves ahead thanks to the Wallabies messy discipline/play via the advantages & later winning penalties before keeping a close eye in defense to close out this deciding test match – including his TRY assist to his Leicester team-mate Freddie Steward that saw England lead Australia by one point ahead of half-time at 10-11. And like Freddie, he proved that he can translate these premiership-winning skillsets at International level, as JVP put England in a great position on the run home with the series trophy.

Lastly, Tom Wright never stopped running on the right wing, especially when he opened the Wallabies scoring account with Nic White backing up on his way through the TRY zone. A few fresh faces in the 2nd-half kept his side closer within reach of England’s radar – thanks to Folau Faingaa. Unfortunately, he just wished that he gets supported more often where he was being isolated in both attack & defense. It would’ve helped the Wallabies get ahead of England once more & capitalise towards the win they desperately needed.

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It’s been another close match-up to round off Round 5 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season at the Sydney Cricket Ground. NSW Waratahs fired off with two tries on the board in the 1st 40 where they led comfortably at half-time (14-6), while the Melbourne Rebels made up some lost time late in the 2nd half. However, a few finishing mistakes, poor throw-ins, and lost penalty chances ruined Rebels’ late resurgence with a five-point loss (24-19).

Unlucky from the Rebels, who brings a brilliant defensive shape when it comes, to their impressive forward pack for a start. They racked up some winning penalties that made the most of successful three-point goals as a safe pair of hands. And the Rebels were able to build some momentum over time, where they bounced back late thanks to Cabous Eloff on the tighthead front row in the 2nd half. They were so close to pipping the Waratahs in the last minute, but the Rebels couldn’t justify their messy finishing, which led to several missed opportunities before it was too late.

And hats off to the Tahs with the win they deserve once again tonight as the home team. We love how the Tahs were patient with the ball on hand, where they took advantage of the Rebels’ slow start & got ahead early with two big scores in the 1st half by Lalakai Foketi & Will Harris. Alex Newsome extended the Tahs winning margin in the 55th minute from the backline, while the Rebels began to close into their radar late in the 2nd half. But the Tahs knew one or two things the Rebels aren’t good at, and that is the finishing where the away team blew their chances away even with the penalty in place, before they defended well & kicked the ball into touch after the full-time siren.

So the Tahs will head off to Brisbane where they will battle against the Queensland Reds in another State of Origin rivalry match-up next Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium. And the Rebels will return home at AAMI Park on Friday night v Fijian Drua.

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Lalakai Foketi looked so aggressive on the inside midfield tonight at No.12 for the Waratahs. He brings so much power and pace to the squad that blew away the opposition half like the Rebels, where Foketi opened up the Tahs’ scoring account. As soon as Foketi knew what the Rebels are capable and not so capable of, the Tahs were able to help him out in the process thanks to the Rebels’ slow start, through more opportunities with the ball on hand. And the Tahs managed to rack up more big scoring points under his watch before Foketi returned the favour for his Tahs side defensively, when the Rebels may have bounced back late in the 2nd half alone, but the home team successfully held them off five points.

The next Tahs player alongside Foketi when it comes to shoutouts is gonna to be a hard pick here. But I will have to go with Charlie Gamble on the openside back row at No.7, where he provided excellent team-work & all-round contribution so the Rebels couldn’t get past his Tahs team. He was running around the field all game long when Gamble noticed the Rebels weaknesses, before he held them accountable alongside a few of his numbers with the physical application. It gave Gamble ample time to have an extended go against the Rebels defense at the other end with the same traits, and that gave a clear path for his Tahs side to punish them through the gate.

And Matt Phillip rounds out as the standout player through a losing Rebels side on the second row. He has a brilliant defensive mindset as always, where his side were able to win some penalties & converted two three-point goals in the 1st half.
Now there is nothing wrong with his attacking contribution by smashing the Tahs with the ball going forward, that help the Rebels catch up late in the 2nd half. However, a poor throw-in and missed chances have left their executions a lot to be desired, as the Rebels were out of steam by full-time.

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Australia were very close with just one wicket left to win but England did a great job blocking as many balls as possible until the very end on Day 5 at 270-9 as both teams settled for a draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but how good is Test Cricket when it’s unique, finest and most competitive longest format that creates moments like this one in the history of the game.

England left off from Day 4 at 30-0 with 358 runs left to try & meet the 388 run target where they finally got an opener who stood up against the Australian bowling attack in Zak Crawley, he used his near 2-meter build & read well that translated into some brilliant shots down the ground plus the overcast conditions as an advantage which was key to his fantastic knock today of 77. We also gave a shoutout to Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow once again for their dynamic batting approach in the middle-order having communicated well & cashed in the opposition’s missed catches at the other end with more runs for England, their influence successfully passed onto the tail-enders to make up the remaining time once the middle-order options were gone during the last session and it turned out to be a success by just stay in there & defend.

And Australia would be disappointed not to finish up today with a win as their 150th victory in Test level would have to wait until at least after next weekend in Hobart, Scott Boland once again unstoppable on his 2nd Test match with the ball of 7 wickets in an Ashes Test while skipper Pat Cummins nearly became their hero after he dismissed Jos Buttler and Mark Wood that made way for England tail-enders a while ago. However, they just bottled a couple of catches on the field that cost them untapped wickets and make their way closer towards the finish line, it would’ve been nice if Australia listened to this mantra from commentator Pommie Mbangwa “catches win matches” and manned themselves up to get the job done sooner rather than later.

Australia still leads the five-match 2021-22 Ashes Series 3-0 after Game 4 with the 5th and final one left at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, it will be a Day-Nighter once again like Adelaide earlier on Game 2 from early December as it begins on Friday afternoon.

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An Unbelievable fightback from Australia on Day 4 when they lost their opening and top-order early before Usman Khawaja turned around with another Test Match 100, Australia declared 265-6 that includes a 387 run lead as England are on 30-0 right now going into Day 5 with 358 more runs to meet the 388 run target & win the 4th Test.

There’s one word to describe Usman Khawaja’s batting spell at the Sydney Cricket Ground and that is outstanding to see with both hundreds made in an Ashes Test, he’s a proper red-ball batsman who knows how to get off the mark alongside a mix of strikes downtown & safe to say that Usman learned a lot while being away from the Australian Test team by returning there as a better player. And hats off to Cameron Green on his 2nd Test 50 (74) since India last year at the same venue, not only he did well to back Usman up but he played some nice shots along the way when he came on at six which shows he’s more than capable of being a long-term all-rounder option alongside some backup as a fast bowler for Australia at Test level.

Meanwhile at the England camp, credit to Mark Wood who not only came off from a brilliant quickfire 39 yesterday in the tail end at 8 but he did a great job removing David Warner & Marnus Labuschagne early with the ball. We also want to give a shoutout to spinner Jack Leach who got out Marcus Harris & clean bowled Steve Smith through the gate at the same time, and hats off to sub keeper Ollie Pope with four catches during Australia’s 2nd innings run.

Although England have let themselves down on occasions while Khawaja & Green extended Australia’s lead run tally, but they’ve got three sessions left to meet the 388 run target with patience, communication and reading to make up the maximum runs is key towards winning. Australia on the other hand only needs 10 wickets to win to finish up the job ASAP tomorrow & go 4-0 up with one Test match left in Hobart beginning on Friday.

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It’s been a competitive Day 3 of the 4th Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground where England fought back as of late thanks to Ben Stokes who scored 66 while they got a finally century for the first time so far this tour from Jonny Bairstow on 103*, but England are still behind by 158 runs on 258-7 after they lost a couple of wickets earlier in the day to Australia.

It’s a shame that England’s top-order pair of Joe Root & Dawid Malan didn’t stay that long but the opening slot looks way worse as it still needs to be resolved urgently after Haseeb Hameed got exposed by Mitchell Starc yet again for another low-figure score on 6 while Zak Crawley haven’t found a decent score since his recall last week, there are some upsides though in the middle-order with Bairstow and Stokes batting dynamically in the middle with much-needed runs on the board. We also want to credit Mark Wood down in the tail end at 8 who did a great job backing Bairstow up, he also executed some nice shots downtown like a smashing T20 player & although we would love to see Wood get his quickfire 50 but just unlucky not to continue on 39.

And great to see Australia still holding on top spot with Scott Boland always up and running having taken two wickets after a unreal Test debut last week in Melbourne, Skipper Pat Cummins also picked up the same amount of wickets as Boland when Australia had to make up lost time on the field while Bairstow & Stokes were there which is disappointing but they’re in a good position now to finish the job ASAP tomorrow.

As just said right now, Australia needs to finish up England’s 1st innings batting spell quickly before they bat again since there’s no longer a follow-on option and increase the lead to another 200-250, then declare going into the 5th & final Day on Sunday & win 4-0.

And England needs Bairstow badly to stay as well as some backup from the other end if they can, otherwise it’ll take a miracle to make up a huge Australian batting collapse with the ball or it’s one step closer towards a 5-0 whitewash the wrong way by Hobart next weekend.

#Ashes #Cricket #Australia #England #BenStokes #JonnyBairstow #MarkWood #ScottBoland #PatCummins #AUSvENG

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What a day for the Aussies on Day 2 of the 4th Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground thanks to the returning Usman Khawaja as they scored 416/8 before the declaration while England are on 13/0 with a trail of 403 runs, Khawaja scored a whopping 133 before he was bowled out by Stuart Broad who just got his 5fer but his sensational knock of 137 today outsmarted the whole England side where he came in at five in place for Travis Head after he was tested positive to COVID rather than the usual opening/top-order role.

Usman is just a proper test player having scored countless of runs before in red ball cricket especially via the domestic format both in Australia & England, yes it’s true that he was not a regular in the Australian Test team whether it’s through injuries or loss of form but at age 35 he still has the ability and determination to play Test for another few years before retiring.

Without Usman it wouldn’t be possible for Australia to reach 400 with Steve Smith also piling the runs on 67 as well as a brilliant quickfire spell from Mitchell Starc at the tail end on 34, regardless of the weather conditions tomorrow they need their bowlers to get the job done ASAP then think about following on or bat a bit more.

Meanwhile, it’s great to see Stuart Broad secure his 5fer for England which is incredible especially when he dismissed plenty of key opposition players with the ball, but unfortunately the rest have let him down while Smith & Khawaja prolonged Australia’s 1st innings batting spell past 400 that left England a very difficult task to catch up tomorrow before their opening pair (Haseeb Hameed & Zak Crawley) gets exposed cheaply yet again.

Leaving Broad out at the start of the Ashes in Brisbane even though he still has the pace to burn at 35 like a fine wine alongside another experienced ageless star in Jimmy Anderson (age 39) is a huge mistake, yes England’s bowling has been okay so far after three tests but not on par as Australia’s if you leave out Broad and Anderson.

#AUSvENG #Ashes #Cricket #Australia #England #UsmanKhawaja #StuartBroad #SteveSmith #SydneyCricketGround #MitchellStarc

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